Federer says he wasn't involved in executive's gambling
Roger Federer denied on Wednesday any involvement in alleged high-stakes gambling by an executive from his management company. The Swiss tennis star said at the Paris Masters that he contacted IMG executive Ted Forstmann after learning of a lawsuit in which Forstmann is accused of betting millions on sporting events, including the 2007 French Open finals that Federer lost to Rafael Nadal.
"I reached out to him just to know everything about the case," Federer said. "That's all I did. I gave a straight answer at Shanghai (Masters) about what I thought about it, but it's disappointing that my name gets thrown around for something I have no control over."
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Forstmann, whose company also owns and operates some professional tennis tournaments, does not represent Federer. Tony Godsick of IMG is his agent. Forstmann is being sued in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Agate Printing Inc. for fraud, interference with contract and breach of contract. In the complaint, which seeks extensive damages for lost business Forstmann allegedly promised, Agate Printing executive Jim Agate claims to have served as a conduit for Forstmann's gambling. Forstmann acknowledged betting on Federer and gambling on sports in general but rejected Agate's claim that he increased bets on Federer after consulting with him.
"I might have called Roger before the match in 2007," Forstmann told the Web site The Daily Beast. "But Roger is a buddy of mine, and all I would be doing is wishing him luck."
Agate's lawsuit claims that Forstmann bet $5,000 on Federer to win the 2006 French Open finals, a match he also lost to Nadal, and the following year placed bets of $22,000 and $11,000 on Federer to win on June 9, the day before the men's finals.
■ Andy Roddick reached the third round at the Paris Masters Wednesday and took a big step toward qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals by beating Jarkko Nieminen 6-1, 6-4. The top eight players in the world qualify for the ATP Finals in London from Nov. 21-28. Top-ranked Rafael Nadal, Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Robin Soderling have already booked their places. Roddick is in eighth place in the rankings and will be guaranteed a spot at the year-end tournament unless Fernando Verdasco reaches the finals in Paris or Jurgen Melzer wins the tournament.
USA Football changes rules on hits
USA Football is amending rules for impermissible hits and will allow referees to remove players who show concussion symptoms. The sport's national governing body on youth and amateur levels made the changes at its annual meeting in Indianapolis on Tuesday. The rule was changed to now include the shoulder or forearm, not just the helmet, being used on an opposing player above the shoulder. Such hits will result in a 15-yard personal foul and possible ejection. Hits above the shoulder pads were a point of emphasis during the meeting. The decision was made in part to clarify "illegal hit" language and also because the commonly used term "helmet-to-helmet hit" is deceiving, said committee chairman and Big Ten referee Bill LeMonnier. USA Football also made all horse-collar tackles illegal whether the player tackled is a ball carrier or not. USA Football is the official youth development partner of the NFL and NFL Players Association.
Oldham Co. accused in Title IX complaint
The National Women's Law Center filed complaints against 12 school districts, including Oldham County in Kentucky, Wednesday alleging they failed to offer equal opportunities for female athletes. NWLC officials said they believe data from 2006 indicates the districts violated Title IX, the federal law prohibiting gender discrimination in federally funded education programs. The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights will investigate the complaints. The school districts are Chicago; Clark County, Nev.; Columbus, Ohio; Deer Valley, Ariz.; Henry County, Ga.; Houston; Irvine, Calif.; New York City; Oldham County, Ky.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Wake County, N.C.; and Worcester, Mass.
Determining whether Title IX violations exist is complicated because the statute can be satisfied in three ways: if the percentage of athletes who are girls is about the same as the student body; if the school has continually expanded opportunities for girls; or if the school meets its female students' interest in participating in sports. The general counsel for the Oldham County Board of Education, Anne Courtney Coorssen, emphasized that the numbers are four years old. She said the participation gaps in the district have shrunk since 2006.
"Unfortunately, representatives from the NWLC chose not to contact the district to obtain current data and discuss Title IX compliance prior to filing their complaint," she said.
Edythe J. Hayes wins middle school title
Edythe J. Hayes beat Morton 22-14 in overtime for the Fayette County public middle school football championship Wednesday night at Lafayette's Ishmael Stadium. Adante Carter and Gunner Kelly both rushed for touchdowns to close out the game. Dearion Jones ran for 177 yards and both of Morton's touchdowns.
Hall of Fame Mariners announcer dies
Dave Niehaus, the Hall of Fame broadcaster who called Seattle Mariners games from their first season through this year, has died, the team said Wednesday. He was 75. Mr. Niehaus was the voice of the Mariners from their first game on April 6, 1977, through the end of the 2010 season with his golden Midwestern voice punctuated by his trademark "My oh My!" and "It will fly away!" calls. He was the recipient of the 2008 Ford C. Frick Award and was inducted into the broadcasters wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Nidiffer, 5 Legends voted as All-Stars
Former University of Kentucky standout Marcus Nidiffer and five Lexington Legends were named Wednesday to the Houston Astros' organizational All-Stars for 2010. Players from Houston affiliates were chosen by milb.com without regard to age or prospect status. Legends outfielders J.D. Martinez and Jake Goebbert, second baseman Jose Altuve, starting pitcher Jose Cisnero, and first baseman/designated hitter Kody Hinze made the team. Nidiffer played first base for Greeneville and Tri-City (short-season Class A) and hit 14 home runs in 69 games.
Ex-NBA player Wright's autopsy released
Former NBA player Lorenzen Wright died in late July after being shot at least five times, an autopsy report released Wednesday showed. Bullet fragments lodged in Wright's skull, chest and right forearm, indicating five shots, the medical examiner's report showed. The report did not exclude the possibility of additional gunshot wounds to the body, which was found in woods in suburban Memphis on July 28. Wright, 34, had been missing for 10 days when his body was found. No arrests have been made in the months since the slaying, and Memphis police haven't offered a motive or suspects. The autopsy was conducted by authorities in Shelby County, which includes Memphis. It said the body was badly decomposed and weighed 57 pounds when discovered. The 6-foot-11 Wright's playing weight was about 225 pounds. The report does not indicate when Wright was shot or when he had died.
Sisters hit holes-in-one in same round
Two sisters on the University of Central Oklahoma golf team are celebrating holes-in-one recorded in the same round. Erica and Lindsey Branch each pulled off the feat Tuesday during a round at KickingBird Golf Club in Edmond, Okla. Erica Branch, a junior, aced the 124-yard third hole, using a gap wedge in windy conditions. Less than two hours later, freshman Lindsey Branch knocked in an 8-iron on the 142-yard 11th hole. Erica Branch shot a 1-under 69, and Lindsey Branch finished with an even-par 70.
The last word
Jets Coach Rex Ryan joked that he has taken out a bounty on brother Rob, defensive coordinator for this week's opponent, the Browns. The twins' father, Buddy Ryan, was famously accused of taking out bounties on players when he coached. So how much is hanging over Rob's head?
"Not much. Maybe five bucks. But don't be surprised if he doesn't get knocked down two or three times in this game."